the statistics for skin cancer prevalence are alarming, remember that preventing
skin cancer starts with you.
There are three major types of skin cancer. And the most deadly, melanoma, kills about 20 people every day in the US, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common, followed by Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Both are predominantly caused by sun damage. Melanoma is also caused by the sun but can be familial too.
many skin cancers aren’t necessarily life threatening, they are tissue
threatening. And the bad news about Melanoma is that it can metastasize to
other areas of the body.
you have rough lesions on your skin, or lesions that peel, bleed, or aren’t healing
properly, see your dermatologist as soon as possible. In the case of Melanoma, check
your moles. For self-examinations, apply the ABCDE method. A is for asymmetry;
B is for irregular borders; C is for colour variation; D is for a diameter
greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser); and E is for evolution (any
change in size, shape or colour).
If you have any cause for concern, make an appointment with your dermatologist. Remember, dermatologists have more experience diagnosing skin cancer than any other doctor.
stated in the first paragraph, preventing skin cancer starts with you. And
teach your children well from an early age.
So, even though we’re in the throes of winter, don’t let them skip the daily SPF50+ sunscreen application. Also, insist that they wear long sleeves and pants, plus a wide-brimmed hat.
best to keep infants out of the sun for the first six months. For unintended
exposure, make sure they wear sun-protective clothing and use stroller
sunshades. From the age of six months you can start applying sunscreen.
Look after yourself
neglect your own sun-protection regimen. Seek shade between 10h00 and 16h00, wear
sun-protective clothing and sunglasses with UV protection.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand. These surfaces reflect the sun’s rays, thus increasing chances of sunburn.
- Watch out for windows. While glass blocks UVB rays reasonably well, it allows UVA rays to pass through. When you’re in the car or near a window at home, remember to wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.
- Don’t ever use tanning beds. UV light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature skin ageing. If you absolutely must have a tan, rather use a self-tanning product. But never skip your sunscreen!
Be safe, be sure: preventing skin cancer starts with you